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Posts Tagged ‘free throw fest’

Carolyn Lhamon played strongly Thursday, but Coupeville fell at Concrete. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Free throws were a killer.

The Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball team almost overcame a terrible start Thursday, rallying from a double-digit deficit and pushing host Concrete hard at the end.

But a 24-point deficit at the charity stripe ultimately doomed the Wolves, as they fell 60-57 to a team they beat by 20 points the first time around.

The loss, Coupeville’s fourth in five games in the month of June, drops it to 4-7 heading into the season finale against Darrington.

That game, which would be Senior Night, except the Wolves have no seniors on their roster, goes down June 15.

Thursday was not what anyone expected, as a Concrete team which only scored 19 points the first time it played Coupeville, suddenly found a roaring offensive attack.

Or at least a trio of refs who helped them along, allowing Concrete to shoot an astounding 45 free throws.

The Lions netted 30 of those shots, and while 67% at the line isn’t Earth-shattering, it’s a heck of a lot better than 25%, which is what Coupeville shot, making just 6-24.

The free throw disparity put a damper on a stirring comeback and a career night for Wolf gunner Anya Leavell.

The junior entered Thursday with 24 career points at the varsity level, then went bonkers in front of a sparse crowd, raining down four three-balls on her way to a game-high 21 points.

Three of those treys came during an 11-point explosion in the final quarter, as Leavell couldn’t miss.

Coupeville’s torrid finish, even while it fell short, was a nice turnaround after the Wolves started ice-cold in the opening quarter.

“We came out flat and never recovered,” said CHS coach Scott Fox. “Anya and Lyla (Stuurmans) played extremely well and kept us in it.

“Always disappointing to lose a winnable game, but at least the kids were fighting hard to claw back.”

The Wolves couldn’t get a shot to drop from the field for much of the first quarter, with just a Savina Wells free throw keeping their half of the scoreboard from registering zero.

But Leavell’s first three-ball of the night finally got things clicking for Coupeville, and, while it trailed at the end of the first quarter, the 15-8 margin wasn’t insurmountable.

Concrete pushed the lead, ever so slightly, out to 28-19 by the half, but the Wolves used a 19-13 third-quarter run to trim things back to 41-38 heading into the final frame.

Five different Wolves scored in the third, something Coupeville repeated in the fourth.

But free throws kept them at bay, with Concrete star Kylie Clark leading the way, netting 13-15 freebies on her way to a team-best 20 points.

Leavell’s 21 earned top honors for CHS, with Wolf 8th grader Savina Wells throwing down nine of her 12 points in the second half.

Audrianna Shaw (9), 8th grader Stuurmans (6), Izzy Wells (4), Carolyn Lhamon (4), Ryanne Knoblich (2), and Ja’Kenya Hoskins (1) rounded out Coupeville’s best offensive showing of the season.

Maddie Georges, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, and Gwen Gustafson all saw floor time as well.

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Kailey Kellner

   Wolf senior Kailey Kellner hit 20 straight free throws at one point en route to winning a team shooting competition. (John Fisken photo)

Kailey Kellner has the hottest shooting touch in town.

The Coupeville High School girls’ basketball squad wrapped up its semi-annual free throw shooting competition/fundraiser and the senior gunner took the top spot.

Kellner dropped in 79 of 100, edging junior Mia Littlejohn, who knocked down 70-100, but since she had a hot streak going as free throw #100 tickled the twines, she was allowed to keep shooting.

She promptly knocked down eight more in a row from the charity stripe, running her streak to 20 makes in a row, then bounced one off the rim to finish 87-109.

Kellner inherits the crown from Wynter Thorne, who won the last competition in 2015.

Lauren Rose (67), Kalia Littlejohn (66) and Kyla Briscoe (63) rounded out the top five, with Briscoe (11) and Allison Wenzel (10) joining Kellner in putting together double-digit streaks of consecutive makes.

All total, 20 Wolf girls, varsity and JV, each put up 100 attempts, raising money to aid the CHS hoops program.

Players got family, friends and fans to pledge per made free throw, or make a lump donation.

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Jordan Ford (John Fisken photo)

   Wolf senior Jordan Ford shoots a free throw in an earlier game. Take this photo, repeat it 82 times and you’ll know what Monday felt like. (John Fisken photo)

Well, that was one foul affair.

Literally.

Somewhere in there was some decent action and a lot of heart, but, by the time things were done Monday, all that anyone will probably remember of the Coupeville vs. Mt. Baker boys’ basketball game was the constant screech of a referee whistle.

By the time the three blind mice in black and white were done, they had whistled an astonishing 58 fouls, created a mind-boggling 83 free throw attempts and sapped the will of all involved.

And then some.

Mount Baker, which had jumped out to a 20-1 lead, then withstood a furious Wolf comeback, eventually departed with an 81-59 non-conference victory.

Coupeville, while absorbing a loss that dropped them to 1-3, showed great resolve in pulling itself out of a huge hole and fighting back into the game, even cutting the lead to single digits at one point.

The refs? The stink they left behind will take days to get out of the gym.

By the end, players from both teams were openly laughing at calls, united by disbelief.

After the game, as veteran coaches looked at the stats, all they could do was laugh, cry and sigh at the same time.

Was there any basketball actually played?

A little, but you would get three seconds of ball for every whistle, it seemed.

Coupeville, which started with nine players (starter Hunter Smith is out with a back injury), had six at the end — and four of those six were sitting on four fouls, a whistle away from being bounced.

Ryan Griggs and Gabe Wynn had already fouled out, while Baker had three guys disqualified, and the Wolves also lost Dante Mitchell to a knee injury.

The real MVP was ace stat keeper June Mazdra, who stayed on top of everything as the Wolves went 30 of 47 at the line and Baker swished 20 of 36.

While a lot of really questionable calls went against Coupeville, they actually committed less fouls, with the Mountaineers “winning” that category 31-27.

The game played around the fouls, you ask?

It started badly. Really badly. Then got a lot better before sputtering out a bit at the end.

Mount Baker rolled in with a much taller team, led by 6-foot-10 Timothy Soares, and Coupeville came out tentative, slow and overwhelmed.

Down 20-1 after a series of steals and quick buckets stung them, the Wolves were put on notice by coach Anthony Smith, who could be heard repeatedly telling them “You’re playing scared!!”

Coming out of that timeout, a flame was lit under their rears, and they responded, despite having to play much of the first half without leading scorer Wiley Hesselgrave, who was stuck on the bench with foul trouble.

Risen Johnson exploded for a quick steal and pull-up jumper, Ryan Griggs banged home seven points in the final three minutes of the quarter and the Wolves became a different team.

In between the non-stop fouls, they cut the lead all the way back to eight at one point, and outscored Baker 45-36 from the mid-point of the first quarter to the end of the third quarter.

They did it by getting mad and aggressive, and the Wolves blunted the height advantage during that stretch by fighting like wild beasts unleashed.

Front court mashers Griggs and Jordan Ford, who both gave away more than a few inches to their rivals, crashed the boards with a cold fury, going right back up, and sometimes through, their foes.

Both showed a knack for converting at the free throw stripe (Ford dropped in nine, while Griggs netted six), and Johnson, who measures in at five-foot-six, brought the fans to their feet when he blocked a shot by a player eight inches taller.

With Hesselgrave back in the game — he netted eight in the third, including a pair of three-point bombs — the Wolves were on the charge headed into the fourth.

Then the refs, feeling left out and lonely since they had gone 17 seconds without calling a foul, brought a screeching halt to any mild momentum that might have been building up.

What could have been an exciting finale turned into an interminable conga line to the charity stripe, with Baker netting half of their free throws in the final quarter.

With the lead stretched back out, and the refs still calling fouls, Ford provided a nice final punch, stealing the ball and barreling into the paint like a bull running through the streets of Pamplona.

Knocking down three scrambling defenders in one move, he successfully drew a foul, stopping the clock with 2.1 seconds to play.

Cause the only way this game could possibly end was with a pair of free throws.

After that, all that was left was for Mazdra to get carpal tunnel from adding everything up.

Johnson paced the Wolves with 16, while Ford dropped a season-high 13 and Hesselgrave netted 12, all in the second half.

Griggs banged home eight before over-zealous refs KO’d him, DeAndre Mitchell tossed in four and Wynn, Jared Helmstadter and Desmond Bell each added a basket.

JV hurt by height:

Luke Merriman went off for 14, including four three-point balls, but the young Wolves couldn’t overcome a Baker JV squad that featured players who were 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-7.

Gabe Eck added six, Ariah Bepler and Andre Avila popped for two apiece and Ty Eck slipped a free throw through the twine in a 62-25 loss.

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